SNS Nails Pros And Cons – The Complete Guide

selective focus photography of woman's pink manicure

Curious about SNS nails after seeing them all over the internet? This type of manicure, also known as dip manicure, has become very popular. It is often available in nail salons that offer other types of manicures such as acrylics or gel nails. Do you want to know more about the SNS nails pros and cons? Keep reading!

sns nails pros and cons

What Are SNS Nails, Exactly?

SNS is a proprietary nail dipping system by Signature Nail Systems. Dip nails are a manicure system thatĀ falls between a classic manicure and fake acrylic talons. The main difference with both classic manicures and acrylics is that the pigment actually comes in powder form.

Your technician (or yourself, if you are doing a DIY dip manicure) will apply a primer, then alternate lawyers of base coat and powder pigments and seal it off with a sealing top coat. If you are doing it at home you would dip your base-coat coated fingernails into a container with powder, but in salons the powder should be brushed over your nail instead for health and safety reasons. But that’s where the name “dip manicure” comes from.

In terms of results, SNS nails are usually thicker than gel but not as thick as acrylics, and can last untouched for several weeks. Removing SNS nails at home is easy to do using acetone, but most salons will also offer this service. Unlike acrylics, SNS nails alone won’t make your nails longer but they can be combined with acrylic extensions if you want longer nails.

SNS Nails Ingredients And Process

There are many providers of dip nails, but among the pros and cons of SNS nails you’ll find the ingredient list quite important.

SNS nails products include vitamins such as vitamin A, E, vitamin B5, vitamin D and calcium to strengthen your natural nails during application. They are formaldehyde free but use cyanoacrylate as the glue (which means they are chemically very similar to a regular acrylic manicure).

The dip powder or pigment contains Eucalyptus essential oil, which for some people can be a problem. 

The process to apply this type of manicure doesn’t require curing under UV lights, which some people consider a big pro of SNS nails compared with gel nails for example. However, the chemicals used are still strong enough, so they must be applied on a well ventilated area and treated carefully.

SNS offers a variety of training courses that include hygienic practices such as not dipping but brushing the dip powder to avoid contaminating the product in between clients. If you opt to have it done at a salon you can see their SNS certifications to know the technicians have been well trained.

SNS Nails Pros And Cons

There are many pros to choosing SNS nails both at home and at a salon. 

  • 1 month manicure: This type of manicure is much longer lasting than a classic manicure
  • Unlike gel it doesn’t require curing under LED lamps.
  • The end result looks quite natural, though a bit thicker than gel nails.
  • They offer a layer of protection for your nails and make them stronger while you have the manicure on.
  • SNS has a huge variety of pigments that you can also mix.
  • As it comes in powder form, you can work slowly, you don’t need to worry about the varnish drying up.
  • Each layer usually takes less than 3 minutes to dry, which makes SNS nails quite quick to apply.

The cons of SNS nails are few but important:

  • You will need to use acetone for removal, which some people hate.
  • If removed incorrectly, they can weaken your natural nails. A good cuticle oil can help with this and should be part of your daily nail maintenance.
  • They tend to be more expensive than gel nails when you have them done at a salon.
  • It takes some trial and error to figure out the color of the dip powder you should use: some colours change significantly when they dry.
  • They may feel thicker or less flexible than gel polish, particularly if you’re used to Shellac nails.
  • Sanitation concerns of dip nails: If you dip your nails, or put excess dip powder that has touched your nails back in the container, you risk cross-contamination of nail fungus and bacteria. This is particularly important in a salon: If you see a salon using the same container for many different customers (instead of portioning out the amount of power they need) you should turn around and leave.

SNS Manicure At Home

Can you do an SNS manicure at home? Sure you can, and you don’t even need to buy a LED or UV lamp for it. There are complete starter kits available online for a variety of nail styles. And you can always buy different powders to use with your preferred base and sealing coats. It is however a good idea to stick with products from the same range/manufacturer, and avoid potential health issues from black market or unregulated products. Do your research and always buy originals!

SNS sells products for use at home but you can also find them available on Amazon. The variety of colors is mind-blowing and it includes glitter, UV light reactive dip powders alongside more classic “creme finish” colors and many nude nail colors perfect for an understated mani. You can check their collections here. Just keep in mind that a single pot of pigment will last for many, many manicures.

SNS nails come with extensive usage instructions, but if you are more of a visual person this video will make it easier.

After reviewing the pros and cons of SNS nails I still think they are a great alternative to gel nails when you want your manicure to last for longer. Since I am not a fan of UV light for skincare reasons, they feel safer in that respect. However, if you rather change your manicure every few days they are definitely not for you: the removal process can be harsh for your nails.